For as usual with EMANCIPATION, hard conditions limit the new freedom. If to win recognition the artist must show a distinctive style, the command may strain his fund of originality at the same time as he face vicious competition. To gain the favor of the rich he must cultivate their taste and earn the applause of critics fronting for the public, not to mention the speculative eye if the art-dealer.(78)
Over our five centuries, the changes in social structure, economic life, and cultural expectations have worked fairly steadily toward EMANCIPATION and made INDIVIDUALISM a common form of SELF-CONCIOUSNESS. The artist is the conspicuous and congenial example. But free play for the self is still a goal to be achieved and not a gift. Under any system, whoever wants self-fulfillment must exert willpower over a long stretch of time, besides possessing talent and knowing how to manage it. And as is plain from daily experience, many who make this effort fail nonetheless and complain of “subjection”. Meanwhile, the great majority feel no wish for public fame or self-expression, which does not mean that they are denied respect or some scope for their modest powers. The society in which everybody finds his or her proper level and due recognition has yet to be designed and made to work.( 88-89)
From, Dawn to Decadence, by Jacques Barzun.
Taking the art topic away and simply applying it to life, there is a fact of life in the above two paragraphs, that I picked up on while reading that book. I could explain it, but that would take away from the discovery a reader would have to make on his own. But being a nice guy I will offer up a keyword to set the tone.